How To Use CRM For Sales And Lead Management

CRM

Sales and lead management are crucial in the sales pipeline and should be done correctly. Read this blog to learn:

How To Use CRM For Sales And Lead Management

One thing every company owner will agree to is that customers are essential for a business to exist. As your brand grows and with it more customers and sales, handling this data becomes challenging. It is well beyond a manual task and businesses cannot take the risks associated with human error, data loss or duplication associated with pen and paper.

The best way to ensure complete customer data management is by using customer relationship management (CRM) technology. CRM software can manage all the interactions your business has with your customers, past and existing, as well as those who have expressed an interest in doing business with you. By having this ‘bank’ of information at your fingertips, you can invest the time to nurture your relationship with them. This way, the communication you have with them can also be used for sales and lead management in the following ways.

  1. Sharing information across teams

CRM

Information forms a crucial part of your sales and lead management. Collecting enough consumer data can help you really understand your customers, their problems and how you can act to solve these for them. If you are able to put yourself in a position where you can create personalized messages that engage your customers and turn them into brand advocates, then you immediately put yourself in a very strong position to win their custom again. This information needs to be visible across all the teams who will have touchpoints with your customers. It is only by doing this, that you can achieve a personalized service that caters to their individual needs.

Jobber is a good example of a CRM system that has been developed specifically for companies operating within the field service sector, such as window cleaning. All customer information is collated in one place making it very easy for any team member to access when speaking to a customer. The progress of sales can be tracked with ease, and it becomes simple to share consistent and effective marketing messages to customers at the various stages of the sales funnel.

  1. Gathering data when and where needed

The primary function of CRM is collecting customer data from the different channels where they interact with your brand. First, the system will gather all the required data from all the essential channels, which it does without any human intervention. Second, it will check the data for keywords or customer demographics. This kind of quality data is essential for lead management and for making conversions.

Additionally, CRM can facilitate an easier delivery of information to your team by providing it when and where they need it. This is done through customizable CRM dashboards, which can be designed by your team according to what they want to see. This helps with productivity as administrators can immediately find the information they are looking for.

  1. Reporting

Analyzing the data you’ve collected and making reports in between marketing campaigns will help you assess where your progress stands and benchmark your levels of success. This will tell you if you’re meeting your marketing goals, and if you need to improve or change the tactics you have adopted.

CRM shows infographics and information in real time and when needed. Because of its automated features and customizable dashboards, there is no longer the need to manually gather data for reporting purposes. It can be used for real time decision-making to improve sales and lead generation management.

  1. Offering better customer experience

Customer experience is an important step in lead management as it determines how satisfied your prospects are with your services. Therefore, make it a point to always offer the best experience to your customers and endeavor to turn qualified prospects into buyers.

Unfortunately, there are businesses that fail at this, and so they end up losing out on revenue for several reasons. To prevent this from happening, the investment of a CRM system will help automate all interactions between your business and its consumers. If used correctly, it should be able to capture data to help your sales team understand your customers frustrations, emotions, and other needs and how you can service these.

  1. Tracking leads

Companies can improve their sales and lead management through the tracking of leads. This is an effective way of knowing the status of each. For example, you can track the number of customers who were contacted during the past month. You can also track what was discussed, the results of the interactions, and what channels were used.

Using a CRM will allow you to identify the actions that can drive conversions or generate quality leads. You’ll have an enhanced sales process as a result that helps you reach your goals faster. Also, tracking with the use of CRM helps identify areas that may need improvement in your sales pipeline.

  1. Distributing leads

During high seasons, businesses can experience a high influx of leads over a short period of time. This can quickly overwhelm internal teams if they don’t have the right tools in place to deal with them. A CRM software program can help to automate leads so they can be assigned to specific team members to be dealt with in the most effective way. The same applies if territorial sales are to be assigned to a particular regional or sales group.

  1. Nurturing leads

CRM

Lead nurturing is the process of identifying where a prospect is in the sales pipeline. It happens after the leads have been tracked and distributed to the sales team and includes the creation of targeted content and communications with prospects who are at different stages of the process and whose preferences may be through different communication channels.

A CRM system can help you personalize and coordinate these communications. Without a CRM tool in place to automate this process, it will be difficult to track whether your messages are working and leading to conversions.

Conclusion on CRM

Good sales and lead management requires the automation of certain tasks. Large volumes of data is required in order to draw actionable conclusions to inform business decisions. This can only be done with a robust CRM system in place that has the capabilities of handling large amounts of information and collecting it in such a way that it can be sorted, reported on and used to inform strategic direction and deliver a personalized service that your customers want.

 

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Search Engine Optimization or Pay-Per-Click: What is Better for You?

search-engine-optimization-or-pay-per-click

There are two primary methods in regards to reeling in more customers: Search Engine Optimization or Pay-Per-Click. Several years ago businesses were mainly preoccupied with choosing the right retail points to attract more customers. As the reality has been changing, the principal things to consider when reaching the target audience refer to the online environment. Thus, businesses are willing to make their websites and social media profiles visible to users online.

There are several effective methods to reach out to a great number of customers online. The most popular ones are search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Both these methods are highly efficient but each of them implements different tactics to achieve the desired result.

Businesses use both SEO and PPC in their strategies, either separately or together. However, the particular sphere of business operation and competitive environment predict which of these two techniques would be more efficient for the particular company. This article talks about SEO and PPC, provides a comparison between them, and helps to define which of these methods would be more suitable for your company.

Search Engine Optimization or Pay-Per-Click

Comparing these two technologies would not be appropriate as there are more differences rather than similarities between them. However, to demonstrate all the positive sides of each method, it is worth having a look at its essentials first.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

seo

This abbreviation stands for search engine optimization – website promotion in the online environment. Most people use search engines such as Google or Bing to find the things they are looking for. To make your website visible to online users, SEO techniques are used.

SEO is a complex term that consists of multiple components that are aimed to improve the overall website ranking. These components could be classified into two main groups depending on the promotional method applied.

The first bunch of techniques is called on-page SEO and refers to on-site optimization. Performing keyword research, creating texts, taking care of technical characteristics of the website belong to this group of methods.

Other SEO methods are classified as off-site or off-page optimization. It means that the website promotion is done with the involvement of external sources. For example, link building and guest posting are the most common approaches used in off-page SEO. Owing to guest posting services such as Adsy.com, you may create articles with the description of your company and the link to your website on other blogs to let more people know about your brand.

What is Pay-Per-Click?

Another popular method businesses utilize in their marketing strategies is PPC that stands for pay-per-click advertising. This method is also implemented within search engines but in a totally different way compared to SEO.

PPC also known as paid advertising is the service offered by Google Ads for displaying your announcements over the organic search results. Marketers bid for certain keywords to get a chance for displaying an ad with the link to the website in the SERP top.

Even when the advertisement is displayed once a user enters a corresponding search query, businesses have to pay for it only in case the ad is clicked. The price for the click is determined while marketers place bids on keywords.

The benefits of Search Engine Optimization

Durable effect

When done properly, search engine optimization is supposed to improve the website ranking gradually. Otherwise, a fast leap in the website positions on search results pages might be considered suspicious by Google. Even though the results of SEO is not visible in the first few weeks, it brings long-term effect, which is the greatest benefit for any business.

Local search

Another advantage of SEO is that it could be the right tool for making the website highly visible for local searches. With the help of certain keywords related to the particular place and special SEO techniques, your website would appear high on the results page when a search is done on the corresponding location.

PPC reinforcement

The power of SEO is that it could also strengthen the effect of the paid advertisement efforts. When people see the same website both in the organic and paid search results, they would likely visit it.

Comprehensive analytics

Most SEO tools used for website optimization provide comprehensive data on its performance. That way some applications could depict how the keywords perform, while others show the amount of time that users spend on the web page. All this data helps to make websites better and modernize them constantly. For instance, if you notice that users leave the website quickly, you might consider creating graphic materials for websites or rewriting the text to make it easy to read for people.

The advantages of PPC

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Sales boost

The main benefit of paid advertising is its high potential for improving the company’s online sales. When an advertisement is placed at the top of the results page, users see it first. Thus, they would probably click on it and explore the website further. To make sure that a user stays for long on the website, design it properly by considering every minor detail.

Brand awareness

This aspect is interrelated with the first advantage of PPC as it also refers to the high visibility of the website. Users would likely remember your brand and recognize it further when it appears within the paid ad results.

SEO reinforcement

Similar to the SEO impact on PPC, the paid advertisement has a reverse effect as well. Paid ads help to reinforce the SEO effect by attracting other businesses and individual customers who would be interested in linking back to your website. Backlinks are powerful in improving the website’s domain authority and ranking.

What to choose for your business: Search Engine Optimization or Pay-Per-Click?

After exploring the main characteristics of search engine optimization and paid advertising, it is possible to decide which method would be more suitable for your company. Even if one of the approaches would be more applicable, it does not exclude the possibility to use another one. Thus, you can use both SEO and PPC but define the proportion of time and budget resources allocated to each of those.

If you are new to the market or have recently created a business website, then the first thing to start with would be SEO. It will help you to strengthen domain authority and lift the website on the search results pages.

In case you have been already using SEO for a while and want to boost sales or promote certain products, then PPC is the right thing to use. By creating paid advertisement you will pay the customers’ attention to the particular thing that corresponds to the keyword search.

When you consider using both PPC and SEO in your marketing campaign, keep in mind that the former is rather costly. It should be preferably used for a limited amount of time to achieve the desired goal. Meanwhile, SEO is the ongoing strategy that ensures the long-term results and requires fewer costs.

Conclusion on Search Engine Optimization or Pay-Per-Click

If you decide whether PPC or SEO is better for your business website promotion, you should define your business goals first of all. In case you want to have short-term results, then PPC is the right option to choose. In other cases, SEO would be the preferred method for website promotion. Anyway, you can use both methods in your marketing strategy to obtain the best results.

 

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Executive Coaching: Certification, Career and Job Opportunities

executive-coaching

Executive Coaching: Certification, Career and Job Opportunities

Executive Coaching is a rapidly growing field that offers exciting opportunities for helping professionals to expand their influence beyond just individual clients. It can also be a great way to make a living.

Coaches help executives overcome personal and professional barriers so they can reach their full potential in both life and business. Coaches work with executives at all levels of organizations, from CEOs to managers who are trying to get promoted or increase their influence within their current position.

Coaches must be able to work with people across functions, helping them communicate more effectively across departments. This person must also have great time management skills because coaching sessions often come right before other meetings or flights that are scheduled back-to-back. They need strong interpersonal communications skills because they will deal with many different types of personalities throughout any given week, including senior leaders, subordinates, peer-level employees.

The Importance of Executive Coaching

Executive coaching is a process that helps leaders through difficult transitions, such as a merger or acquisition, downsizing, restructuring, career change and leadership transition. Coaches work with executives during times of high stress from these types of events to help them make better decisions and deal more efficiently with people affected by the change. Executive coaches typically work with a person for six to 12 months. 

How to Become an Executive Coach

There are many paths to becoming an executive coach. Coaches may come from a variety of professional backgrounds, such as human resources, training and development, management, psychology, or counseling. 

The average salary for executive coaches in the United States is $100,000 per year, according to Payscale. Executive coaches with more than 10 years of experience earn an average annual salary of $127,000. Jobs for executive coaches are expected to grow by 18 percent through 2022.

executive-coaching

Certification for Executive Coaching

The best way to become an executive coach is to obtain certification. Coaching certification also allows professionals to increase their salary and marketability. Coaches can obtain certification through the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and by working with an ICF-certified coach.

Coaching certifications were barely heard of a few years ago; now they’re fast become a staple among those wishing to enter the growing coaching industry and expand their knowledge and reach beyond just individual clients.

Job Description and Qualifications

An executive coach is a professional who helps individuals and organizations improve their performance. Coaches work with clients to identify and achieve goals, deliver feedback, provide support and accountability, and help clients develop new skills.

Future coaches should have an interest in personality, organizational systems, relationships, and human behavior. This job is ideal for those with a combination of interpersonal skills and business acumen. Those educated as psychologists are best suited for this job, but there are many training and certification options for people with different backgrounds.

Best Executive Coaching Programs and Certifications

 Coaching certification training programs vary greatly in length and intensity, but most programs require about 100 hours of coursework. The Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) offers the only nationally recognized coaching certification in Canada..

Certified Coaches International is another well-respected credentialing organization for coaches.

Coaches who wish to enhance their career prospects can also complete a master’s degree program in an executive coaching or organizational psychology. Harvard University offers an online master’s degree program through its School of Education.

Conclusion on Executive Coaching

Executive coaching is a rewarding and growing profession. Coaches can make a great living by helping individuals and organizations achieve their goals. The best coaches are those with an interest in personality, organizational systems, relationships, and human behavior. They should also have strong interpersonal skills and business acumen. With the right training and credentials, executive coaches can enjoy a successful career in this exciting field.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!

Looking for more articles about careers? Check out our blog page!

Author’s Bio:

Thomas Glare started his career as a game tester and became a team manager. After that, he moved on to project management and held various positions. For the past three years, Thomas has led teams working on art assets for the mobile casino, with hundreds of employees in five different countries at the peak of production. 

 

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A Business Owners Guide to Relocating – The Basics

relocating

A Business Owners Guide to Relocating

Chances are you’ve dedicated much of your time, energy and resources to starting your own business. You’ve been there every step of the way and worked through all the stages of the business. Now it’s time for relocating, to continue success.

Moving your business to a new location can be an overwhelming experience, even for a seasoned business operator. Take a look at these helpful tips for relocating your business. With a little advanced planning, good logistics, and commitment to detail, you’ll be up and running in the new location in no time at all.  

Regardless of what type of business you’re running, or the size of your operation, organization and strategy is key. Every detail from start to finish must be planned. 

Inform Your Staff that You’re Relocating

When it’s practical to talk about the move you should inform your staff about your relocation plans. A lack of transparency on your part could lower employee morale or become a major disruption to your business. Communication is key. 

Sketch a Rough Draft

Get a blank notebook and create a rough draft of the moving plan. Jotting down notes allows you to think better and wrap your mind around big concepts and tasks. Include important dates like when you must vacate the old premise and the date you take possession of the new place. Having the timeline in front of you gives you a better idea of the scope of the project. Once you have a rough draft you can fine-tune it and turn it into a plan of action.

Master Checklist for Relocating

From the rough sketch and the notes you made, you should have a good idea of what needs to be done. Creating a master checklist or a moving out checklist is the next logical step in relocating. This checklist helps you keep track of every detail and gives you an overview of where you are in the process and what needs to be done. It also helps you delegate certain tasks to employees and managers. 

Hire Professionals

Sometimes the DIY approach to moving is not the best option. Especially when it comes to relocating a business. Hiring experts such as movers, consultants, IT or telecommunication specialists is a wise choice. Not only are they insured but it allows you to look at the big picture instead of lifting boxes or getting involved with smaller and distracting details.

relocating

Connectivity 

Most if not all small businesses rely on the internet. So, setting up internet services is key. You’ll need to schedule the end of service in the old location and start of service in the new location. It’s an important tool that should be set up as soon as possible. 

Spread the Word that You’re Relocating

Find the nearest hilltop and broadcast to the world that the business is relocating. You want to make sure that your customers, vendors, and the general public knows all about the new location and the timeline. Without your customers and vendors, you won’t have much of a business. Post the announcement on the company website and outgoing communications. If your business is customer-based you may want to consider sending out “we moved” postcards to your customer base.  

Moving, in general, can be stressful no matter how prepared or organized you are. Following the above tips will guide you, your employees,  and your business through the stress and uncertainty of relocating.

 

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A Small Business-owner’s Guide To ERP Software

erp-software

Guide To ERP Software

Most business owners use all sorts of software and systems to help with their day-to-day activities. Most of these programs facilitate specific operations, such as invoicing, accounting, communications, and billing. However, you may also find a handful of software that can handle a variety of activities. Enterprise resource planning software, also known as ERP software, is a perfect example of this. 

An Overview Of ERP Software 

As stated earlier, ERP software is a type of program that facilitates day-to-day business activities. Unlike most business software that usually focuses on a specific activity, an ERP has numerous functions that touch many or all business operations. You can think of it as a program that fits numerous software into one system, thereby allowing business owners to cut down on costs. 

Unfortunately, while ERP software is indeed a powerful business tool for corporate giants and small businesses alike, it can be quite difficult to navigate, much less utilize for business purposes. 

For that reason, most users, specifically small business owners, consider ERP consulting services before taking on the challenge of ERP implementation for their organization. In the meantime, however, users can learn more about the software, and that’s what this article is all about. To start with, you must understand that ERP software consists of several components, also called modules. 

Introduction To ERP Software Modules 

erp-software

Normally, when you purchase software from a provider, you can enjoy all the features that come with the package. For example, the key features of a digital asset management platform include: 

  • Batch download 
  • Search 
  • Version history and control 
  • Organization 
  • Filter and sorting 
  • Access control 

However, that isn’t the case for ERP software. Unlike most systems and platforms, you can select which modules or components you want to include in the software. This is one of the main reasons that ERP software has become extremely prevalent among small business owners. By selecting only the features necessary for your business operations, you can cut down on the cost of your purchase. 

On that note, here’s a list of the different modules that comprise most ERP systems: 

  • Finance and accounting 
  • Manufacturing 
  • Procurement 
  • Inventory management 
  • Warehouse management 
  • Workforce management 
  • Marketing 
  • Automation 

While it might be tempting to select just about any module for your ERP software, you must take into consideration your business model, size, industry, and your employees’ technical expertise. If you can construct an ERP software that contains all the modules or components your small business needs, you should be able to maximize the potential of the software and enjoy its benefits to the fullest. 

Potential Benefits Of ERP Software 

Apart from the previous point concerning the customizability of ERP software, there are a lot of other benefits you can gain by implementing this type of software. Here’s a closer look at these benefits: 

  • Reduce Overall IT Costs 

A business’s IT sector includes all the software utilized for business purposes. This may include platforms like invoicing software, billing programs, and staffing software. As you may imagine, maintaining this much software can be financially draining, especially for a small business. That’s why being able to fit all these into one system in the form of ERP software can be extremely helpful, as it reduces the overall costs to maintain your business’s IT department. 

  • Prevent Too Little Or Too Much Inventory 

If you’re operating a retail business, you’ve probably experienced having too little or too much inventory a couple of times. Too little inventory means longer customer fulfillment times, while the opposite may increase your overhead costs. Either way, it doesn’t lead to any positive effects for your business. However, with the inventory management module present in your ERP, it should be possible to prevent having way too little or too many items in your inventory. 

  • Improve Customer Service 

Customer relationship management, also known as CRM, is one of the essential components of a business. Not only does it improve your customer acquisition, but it may also positively affect your retention rate. In short, it improves your customer service quality. And, as you may have guessed, CRM is yet another module that you can find in typical ERM software. 

  • Enhance Data Security 

Much like most business platforms, ERP software generally offers enhanced data security that would allow you to protect valuable business data. Considering the ever-increasing number of cyber threats, this benefit could certainly go a long way in helping you manage your business. 

  • Automate Repetitive Tasks 

Oftentimes, when a small business suddenly becomes popular among the masses, things tend to get hectic very quickly. At times like this, routine or repetitive tasks can get in the way of a productive operation. Hence, many business owners look for a way to automate these tasks, and ERP software is undoubtedly one of the best ways to approach this issue. 

  • Encourage Collaboration 

As you may already know, ERP software may consist of numerous functions that would otherwise be separate from one another. For example, the accounting software is usually separate from the marketing platform, but ERM systems make it so the two are together. As a result, your employees can establish a connection with other sectors of your business, which in turn encourages collaboration and better communication. 

As you can see, enterprise resource planning software is in no way inconsequential to an organization, much less to a small business. It brings a lot of benefits to the table, which explains why it’s incredibly popular with small business owners. But you must remember that ERP software isn’t free, by any means.  

Cost Of ERP Software 

erp-software

ERP software varies in price according to the number of modules included in the package. But for your reference, the average price for an ERP system suitable to small businesses is around USD$5,000. 

Take note that this figure is much higher for medium and big enterprises. Moreover, the price may come in the form of a subscription plan or licensing. For subscriptions, you usually need to enter a contract with the vendor to decide on the contract length. 

Conclusion

Despite the benefits you can gain from having ERP software, you must also remember that it has a few disadvantages of its own. For example, you need to train your employees before you can get any use out of the software. Not to mention that it can be quite costly to purchase your license or subscription for the software. Simply put, investing in ERP software may not be for every business, but if you decide to do it anyway, this guide should be of great help.

 

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Find the Fulfillment You Deserve by Pursuing Your Dreams

pursuing-your-dreams

Pursue Your Dreams to Discover the Fulfillment You Deserve

Pursuing your dreams is an important part of your life. You spend a significant portion of your life working, and if you don’t feel fulfilled by your current career, your discontent can have a strong impact on your overall happiness and long-term health. Life is simply more enjoyable when you are doing something you are passionate about. Moreover, research shows that when you love your job, you work harder, have more resilience and are much more likely to be productive. Follow these steps from Empire Business Brokers to pursue your passions and live a full and rewarding life.

Assess Your Passions While Pursuing Your Dreams

The easiest way to determine your true calling is by asking questions:

  • What are my favorite hobbies?
  • Are there activities or topics that make me light up inside?
  • Which activities make me lose track of time because I’m so invested?
  • What did I dream about when I was a child?
  • Which subjects do I most often find myself reading and talking about?

If the answers to these questions fail to provide you with the needed clarity, consider taking a free online test for additional guidance.

Evaluate Your Skills As You’re Pursuing Your Dreams

If you end up with several passions but aren’t sure which you should pursue, realize that this is a good problem to have because it gives you options. In this situation, the next step is to assess your skills to determine where you will likely experience the greatest success.

Look Into Education and Training While Pursuing Your Dreams

Next, compare your current skills and qualifications with those needed for the career of your dreams. In some situations, you may already be qualified to begin, but if you need additional preparation, don’t despair. Instead, determine what kind of education, training, or certificates you need to ensure success.

If acquiring the necessary qualifications is likely to take some time, it’s a good idea to stay in your current job during the interim. Take advantage of the time by building up some savings and doing more research on your dream field. At least you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you will be pursuing your true passion soon!

Find Your Dream Job or Start Your Own Business

pursuing-your-dreams

The next step is to make the jump. Determine whether you want a job or prefer to start your own company. If a position within a firm or organization appeals to you, research the industry, update your resume and build connections in your field. The right people can provide valuable insight, alert you to job openings, and help you land your dream position.

If entrepreneurship is more your style, being strategic with early business decisions can boost your odds for success:

  • Consider launching your company from the comfort of your home. Not only does this reduce your costs and risks, but it also provides flexibility and convenience.
  • Pick the most advantageous business structure for your new company by looking at tax implications, personal asset protection and flexibility. You can file the paperwork yourself, but using an online formation service is a good choice when starting an LLC in SC because these professionals can quickly and easily file with your state officials and provide you with the documentation you need.
  • Develop a business plan that defines your goals and details your firm’s structure, operations and financial situation. The plan can act as a roadmap to help you with future planning, strategy, and funding.
  • Work with Empire Business Brokers to buy an existing business and take it from there. Learn more here.

If you feel unhappy in your current career or job position, it’s time for a change. With the proper steps, you can pursue your dreams and live a happier and more fulfilling life.

 

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7 Great Ways to Convert Website Traffic Into Sales

website-traffic

Have you been seeing a steady stream of website traffic, but you’re not getting as many sales as you would like? It can be frustrating, especially when you don’t understand what it is that you’re doing wrong. Thankfully, there is a way that you can readjust your strategy with some careful SEO techniques.

Utah SEO can help you develop a strategy to manage your company’s online efforts and start to see those visits turn to revenue. With a few adjustments, you can capture the interest of your local community and beyond.

 

Seven  Ways to Turn Website Traffic Into Sales

 

Create an Email List to Help With Website Traffic

Your customers like to know what’s going on with your business and are informed of any new products or improvements that have been made. An email list is a perfect way to keep in touch with them. You can provide details about your company and slowly build up trust by showing them what your values and mission are. Customers appreciate having some personal details and inside information on the workings of your company.

Once you have started to generate some interest and shown the appeal of what you offer, you can start to send out a sales pitch with your emails that encourages your audience to make a purchase. Include a discount or special rate for even more interest and incentive to buy from you.

Have a Consistent Online Presence

website-traffic

Content and visibility are key factors in gaining enough enthusiasm to turn those site views into sales. If you don’t already have a strong online presence, then you should start to join social media and other sites to interact with your target customer demographic. Even local buyers get a lot of their information online, so this is not a step that you want to skip over.

Keep your content updated and fresh. One great blog post is not enough. It may capture the interest of a few people, but that will start to fade if you don’t follow up with regular updates and new ideas. Try to focus on content that shows how your products will solve a problem or provide value.

Have conversations with other businesses and individuals on social media. Comment on current events and show how your company plays a relevant role in today’s market. You can advertise deals that you have going on, or even drive up some interest for a cause that is close to your heart and that your company supports. Showing that your business has heart and cares is a great way to break out of the stuffy business-only content that can quickly get stale and boring.

Track Your Website Traffic Origins

There are all kinds of algorithms and apps available that will help you track the source of the clicks your website gets. When you can see which ads and outside sources are most effective at drawing people to your website, you can refocus your efforts by updating your ad campaign and showcasing your products that would be most appealing for this group.

If you have low views from some surprising sources, then you may want to get some outside opinions on where your advertising or content fell flat. Ask friends, employees, or even a customer panel for their insights and criticisms.

Consider Tiered Offerings

Not every person that visits your website will be ready to make a purchase. They may need some convincing or be unsure if your product is the correct one for them. This is why it’s a fantastic idea to encourage different types of purchases.

For those customers who are undecided or perhaps just getting started with a project or business, have some low-cost options available. This gives them the opportunity to get the feel of your products and how your company works. Others could be further along in their plans and ready for a larger investment. Always show your prices clearly so your customers can make an informed decision. If possible, organize your content in a progressive way so potential buyers can see how each step up in cost offers greater value to them.

Offer a Guarantee To Improve Your Website Traffic

No one wants to lose out on a large sum of money. Some of the people that stop by your site may be interested in buying from you, but nervous about the cost investment if it turns out not to work for them. Alleviate their fears and show your awesome customer service with a guarantee. Remove the risk by offering a full refund if the purchase does not meet their expectations or needs.

It’s also a wonderful idea to list your credentials and experience so any wavering customer will be confident that you have quality products and they can trust your company.

Tweak Your Content

website-traffic

If you are getting quite a lot of website hits, but not so many sales, take a closer look at your content. Is it grabbing the attention of the viewer? If someone clicks on your site but is uninspired by what they see, they will leave before they even get close to buying anything.

Make sure that your information is clear and that you provide plenty of details. Keep your tone friendly and consistent. Consider the visual appeal and organization of your site. Is it organized? Your content should be easy to understand and not overcrowded. Divide it into sections that are labeled and simple to navigate to. You may even want to add some helpful features like an online chat option so customers can get immediate answers to their questions.

Deliver Greater Value To Improve Your Website Traffic

Another tip to increasing your sales revenue is to provide more value. Perhaps a potential customer is on the fence about whether or not to make a purchase. If they see that you offer a mini online course or free trial they may be more willing to take the plunge and complete the purchase. You can also provide some instruction videos and demonstrations for your products and services. These are fantastic ways to let your viewers see your product in action and build up interest.

With a smart SEO strategy, you can start to see a big rise in your online sales. When you know how to interact with your customers, both past and potential, and give them what they want, you will have a much better success rate.

 

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Why Do Small Businesses Fail?

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), in 2016, the U.S. was home to 30.7 million small businesses. Those businesses employed 59.9 million people, accounting for 47.3% of the workforce. And yet, small businesses fail.

Whether it’s a one-person show or a small company with fewer than 500 employees – you’ve got a small business. These are the lifeblood of the American economy… and yet, many small businesses don’t even make it past their first year. About half of them fail within the first five years, and only 1/3 of them make it to the 10-year mark.

Why do small businesses fail? Many factors influence small business success, including financing, marketing, product and service offering, and target market. If one of these things is off, it can create a difficult situation for business owners.

Reasons Small Businesses Fail

small-businesses-fail

Not everyone who dreams of owning their own business has the knowledge and skill it takes. But even seasoned entrepreneurs aren’t guaranteed a win.

No Clear Business Plan

When you get excited about something, it’s easy to want to dive right in and get started. It isn’t simple to answer the question of why small businesses fail. Unfortunately, that motivation and enthusiasm about your new business idea will only get you so far. Business owners who do not plan adequately before launching to the public will undoubtedly suffer. And that poor planning may not come back to bite you right away – but it could spell the end of your business much sooner than you’d planned.

Before you even start becoming a legal small business owner, you should first develop a business plan. No clue where to start? There are plenty of templates available to help.

Your business plan should include:

  • A description of the business and value proposition – the clearer, the better.
  • An overview of your capital needs, including operating capital, projected cash flow, revenue stream, budgets, etc.
  • Current and future staffing needs, including management
  • Market research and competitor analysis
  • Marketing needs and initiatives
  • Broader market opportunities and threats

Make sure you have a solid grasp of your industry and competition. For the greatest chance of success, establish a sound business model and company infrastructure before building out a single product or service.

Small business owners who do not address business needs with a plan before operations start will create unnecessary challenges. Those challenges may be overcome or they could directly cause business failure.

That said, small businesses should also take the time to regularly review the initial plan and make adjustments for the future based on changing conditions.

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Lack of Funding Can be why small businesses fail

The biggest reason for business failure comes down to money. If you don’t have enough cash flow to support your business during the growth phases, you’ll eventually have to close shop.

Funding for startup companies takes many forms – from a small business loan to crowdfunding and venture capital investments. If you plan on approaching a bank to get funding for your journey as an entrepreneur, you shouldn’t skimp on business planning. Banks want to know they’ll be able to recoup their investment – and if you can’t prove how and when you’ll make money, banks won’t give it to you.

All businesses need a certain amount of cash reserves to fall back on to keep operations running while you wait for accounts receivable to come in. This won’t change as you grow. But, with the right investments and growth strategies, you’ll be able to keep enough money in the bank to keep things moving even if you hit a sales slump.

Small business owners may harm themselves with pricing. If entering a saturated market, it may be tempting to price everything low to capture the market. Doing so may get you customers, but if it means you don’t have enough revenue to generate a profit – you’re not doing yourself any favors.

Marketing Efforts Fall Short

All too often, business owners underestimate the importance of marketing initiatives. They may target the wrong customer base. They may need a bigger marketing budget to execute their marketing campaigns.

One of the most effective marketing efforts you can focus on is getting more Google My Business reviews. Data shows 97% use online media to shop locally. That means most people research your business before ever engaging with you. Your Google My Business presence works much like word of mouth. It will help your search engine optimization efforts, too.

Besides your business plan, spend some time developing a full marketing plan. Outline what you need to do and how you’ll do it. Include the money you’ll spend. Consider hiring a research firm to help ensure you’re targeting the right customers.

Inadequate Management

Another reason companies falter within the first year is that many times, the business owner is the only management staff. A business owner may have the skills to create a product or service, but could easily lack the required management skills to appropriately manage a team.

Without adequate management in place, it’s easy to mismanage crucial parts of the business – from hiring staff to marketing, or finances. A smart business owner recognizes their weaknesses and outsources those areas. Be it because they don’t have the knowledge to handle a task well or just don’t have the time to handle it correctly, effective business owners know a strong leadership team is critical to long-term business success.

Other Reasons Why Small Businesses Fail

small-businesses-fail

These, of course, aren’t the only reasons a business may not make it. No one can plan for every scenario, but the more you’re aware of from the beginning, the better. Other causes include:

  • Unsustainable growth
  • Lack of data
  • Refusal to pivot when it makes sense (did you know that Nintendo and Twitter are only successful today because of the choice to pivot?)
  • Lack of understanding around today’s consumer behavior
  • Inventory mismanagement.

Protecting Your Small Business During its Vulnerable Time

Don’t let the fact that only 20% of businesses survive their first year scare you. It’s okay to start small and scale up. Focus more time and effort on the research and planning phases. Spend money wisely. Work with a small team of freelancers on a project basis, rather than hiring hourly employees and offering benefits from the start.

Where are you on your small business journey? What advice do you have for brand new entrepreneurs? Let us know in the comments.

 

Author Bio:

Lucinda Honeycutt is the Head of Content for Orbit Local. She has 13 years of experience in content creation, WordPress, and SEO. When she’s not writing, she can be found binge-watching true crime TV or listening to an audiobook.

 

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Shipping Checklist For Your Business On Peak Shipping Times

Resources from Small Business Coaching

Don’t make the mistake of neglecting the preparation aspect of any business. Peak shipping season is a great opportunity to gain more profit. Now, you can get organized with our shipping checklist to be in tip-top shape when it rolls around.

With small business shipping, being organized and on top of things is critical at all times. The margins on your business are not usually that big, so you need to ensure you always bring your A game. However, during the peak season, it’s even more essential. 

Disappointing customers and annoying suppliers during the busiest periods can easily give your business a negative reputation that could last throughout the quiet periods too. This could be hugely detrimental to your business, and cost you a fortune in sales.

Peak Shipping Times Checklist For Your Business

So, how do you get your business prepared for peak shipping season? Let’s take a look:

1. Set Your Shipping Checklist Guides According To The Season

shipping-checklist

Whether you’re planning your own stock levels and ordering, or you’re providing shipping guides to customers, you should never have a one-size-fits-all approach. Things will change depending on the time of year and the general volumes of items being shipped. Just like a hotel will have peak and off-peak rates for their rooms, you should have peak and off-peak shipping season guidelines as part of your business processes.

Peak seasons can also vary slightly depending on what industry you’re in and what is being shipped. For example, on the consumer side of things, peak season will be November to December as people gear up for the holiday season. However, the retailers will need to gear up in the months before that, meaning their main shipping season is August through to October.

Over the Christmas period, it’s also a good idea to clearly provide details as to when the last order can be placed so that it will be shipped in time to give as a gift, or use over the holidays. Being open about this up front with your customers will alleviate a lot of heartache and worry. Plus it will provide your customers with a good user experience as they know whether or not their expectations will be met. No one likes not knowing if the gift they ordered will arrive in time!

2. Ship And Store What You Can Early

Shipping during peak season can also bring with it a hefty price tag. The demand for shipping lanes and transportation goes up and those providing these services can increase their rates (and usually do). If you have any products that are not perishable and can be shipped before you hit the peak season, it might be far more cost effective to do so.

Shipping early will come with other implications, especially the cost implication of storage at the receiver’s end. You may need to look into getting a warehouse space, which costs money. However, this could still be less than the increased shipping fees. Do your homework about small business shipping timings and plan accordingly.

3. Stagger Your Shipments Based On Need

What can often hold up a shipment, especially in the busier peak times, is that an entire order can’t be made ready at the same time. This means that one part of your order is sitting waiting and won’t be shipped to you until it is complete.

Instead of placing your regular orders, look critically at what is urgent during the peak period and only order that. You can talk to your suppliers about sending part orders so you don’t completely run out of something.

If you are shipping orders to customers, consider setting up a similar option for part orders. If you speak to regular customers early on about stock issues or potential issues with shipping, you can usually find a way around the concerns together.

4. Be Aware Of The Impact Of Holidays In Regards To Your Shipping Checklist

During the peak holiday season, there are fewer working days. This means that there is a higher demand for items to be shipped, and fewer days in which to make those shipments.

The impact of this could mean a longer time for an item to arrive or a higher price tag attached because the shipping company has to pay employees to work over a holiday. There are strict regulations around this in the trucking industry and other shipping methods so it’s a crucial item to add to your checklist.

5. Change Up Your Shipping Methods

shipping-checklist

Before demand for couriers and shipping goes up over the peak season, you may want to shop around and see what other options there are. You don’t always have to use the same company or method to send your products to customers or to get items from your suppliers. You should also consider seeing if the companies you use have flexible options.

For example, if you don’t mind the products arriving between 15 and 20 days, rather than arriving within 15 days, you might get a better rate on shipping. This is because the shipping company then has a bit of breathing room to work around the massively varying shipping requests coming in during peak season.

You can also consider creating your own small business shipping delivery methods if it’s possible. Look into the logistics of hiring a driver and a van for the peak season so that you can stay in control of what you deliver to your customers. It doesn’t have to be a permanent solution – just something to help you stay on top of things when they are busy.

6. Insure Your Shipping To Prioritize Your Shipping Checklist

This often seems like an unnecessary extra cost, but it can help your business to survive if a shipment goes missing or is delayed. In peak shipping season, it is far more likely that you will face one of these scenarios and that can do real damage to your ability to make money.

With proper shipping insurance, you can easily make claims and cover any losses that are incurred. This extra peace of mind can help you to thrive through the busy seasons and grow through the quieter periods.

Peak season can make or break your business. If you ensure you are prepared for peak shipping season, you should reap the rewards. Your bottom line will improve and your customer service and satisfaction ratings will too.

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High-Quality Leads Generating For Your Business

High-Quality Leads

Whether you are a small business owner or running a huge company, your business cycle starts with generating high-quality leads. That is exactly where the sales funnel starts from.

Believe it or not, ‘lead generation’ is one of the most underrated phases of your sales funnel that should actually be getting enough attention and should definitely be worked upon.

Did you know?

According to stats, an effective lead generation process can boost your revenue by 133%.

Before starting a sales journey, a business collects leads and not all those leads turn into paying customers.

Oftentimes, some leads just get associated with you to gather information or other purposes and do not continue with you in your journey. Therefore, it is essential that you get this phase of generating high-quality leads right from the beginning itself.

Since Lead Generation is an investment for your company, you should have an effective lead generation strategy in place to get the maximum number of high-quality leads and cut down on all those that may not be as relevant to your business.

How do you achieve that?

In this guide, we are going to introduce you to 8 Best Practices that you should know to generate High-Quality Leads For Your Business.

 

8 Best Practices to Generate High-Quality Leads For Your Business

  1. Don’t Create Just One Buyer Persona For Your Business

 

Your business caters to various audiences and in order to effectively target them, you need to create an in-depth profile of these representative fictional characters. By creating more than just 1 Buyer Persona for your business, you are widening your horizons.

For example, by studying the challenges, motivations, demographic details, and habits of your customers, you can get to really know them well and can understand what platforms they may be using and the kind of content, product, or services they may be seeking out for solving their issues.

 

  1. Repurpose Your Content 

 

Creating more content can cost you more and can take up more of your time. Therefore, recycling here comes to your rescue. You may already be having a successful blog, therefore all you need to do now is to repurpose your content in the right way to target more potential customers, tweak your messages and content and analyze what content actually engages your audience.

Some of the ways you can repurpose your content are:

 

  • You can start with newsletters for audiences to sign up with you
  • Turn your blog posts into effective videos and podcasts
  • Use some of your content for Social Media Platforms

 

Get creative and trendy with your content that suits the customers of today. Visual graphics, videos and podcasts are just some of the new ways to grab your audience’s attention and can be really effective sources.

 

  1. Use Social Media to Its Maximum Potential 

 

Social media is a fantastic tool to generate new leads and nurture existing ones. There are numerous approaches to using social media to raise brand awareness and authority. With the current advancement in trends, you can now even engage with your leads directly through effective chatbots, where you can solve your audience’s problems almost immediately.

 

Look out for platforms where your target audience is the most active and make maximum use of them. For example, if your target audience is teenagers or millennials, you should be active on Instagram as it is a popular space for your target audience. You can also make use of tools like paid ads which would increase your visibility to the audience and would help you get High-Quality potential leads.

 

  1. Make Use of Clear CTA’s and Contact Forms As Well When Pursuing High-Quality Leads

 

Your motive should be to drive your audience into taking some action. It is psychologically proven that when you are constantly telling your audience into taking some form of action such as buying your product, engaging with your email, pressing on some link, they are more inclined to do so. Therefore, having clear CTAs is extremely important in your Emails, Landing Pages, Websites, etc.

 

Contact forms are also a great way to catch potential leads. It is important that your contact form is clear and uncluttered with a prominent CTA button. This helps your customers to focus exactly on what they need.

  1. Make Use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

 

One of the best ways to capture high-quality leads is by taking care of the audience that is actually searching for you and not the other way around. You always have a pool of customers that are actually searching for your products and services and this is when SEO comes into play. You need to make sure that you are appearing highly in these searches.

 

The closing rate of SEO leads is as high as 14.6%. Some of the ways you can appear when your audience searches for you on the search engine is by producing SEO-optimized content, creating links and backlinks, and optimizing your product pages around your persona’s needs.

 

  1. Analyze Your Executions Every Now and Then

One of the ways you can improve your current performance is by analyzing your executions in your journey. When trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t, it’s critical to analyze all of your executions. This would help you make respective adjustments and improve overall performance.

Some of the key areas where you can analyze to track performance are email marketing, SEO Content Marketing, PPC outcomes, banner ads, Effectiveness of CTAs and Landing Pages, etc. This would not only help you in making adjustments but would also tell you the most effective channel for the best conversions.

 

  1. Automating Your Marketing Process for High-Quality Leads

 

A lot of times, many high-quality leads do not get the attention they require due to the busy marketing and sales processes in the business. That’s where marketing automation saves you from losing your high-quality leads. With Marketing Automation, your workflows can be highly customized and your processes can be optimized according to your business’s needs.

Workflow automation will help you by keeping high-quality leads in the loop and by saving time when it comes to manually follow up on leads. It also aids in the tracking of your sales process by recording costs, engagement points, and other activities, which further leaves your sales and marketing managers with more time to actually build stronger relationships with the leads.

 

  1. Focus on Lead Scoring in Regards to High-Quality Leads

 

Like we mentioned earlier, not all your leads are going to get converted to paying customers. Therefore, it is essential that you differentiate between the different types of leads that you have. These can primarily be categorized as hot and cold leads based on their scale of enthusiasm.

You need to have a system in place for grading these leads based on their engagement with your business. While some may be long or mid-term prospects, the others may be just there for the sake of it and may never even wish to buy from you. It is essential that you nurture leads accordingly.

Rank these leads and create a customized multi-layered content marketing strategy in your sales and marketing funnel based on their ranks and their needs to get nurtured. This would cut down on your efforts to market to the irrelevant leads and would help you focus on leads that can give you some return.

Conclusion

There are no hard and fast set rules of what will fetch you High Quality Leads in the Industry. There is nothing fixed in the industry that has been said to work for every business type as each business is different and has varying needs.

You can always implement tactics and see what works for your business to produce high-quality leads. These are some of the tried and tested best practices that we implemented for lead generation and helped us achieve our organizational goals.

Without further ado, go on and get started with testing a few of these for your business!

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Author Bio:

Sara Williams

 

Sara is a content writer at PeppyBiz, a platform that provides lead generation software through which companies can stimulate and capture customer’s interest in their product or service.

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